Ukraine war: US sees ‘notable progress’ by Ukraine army in south
The US government has reported that Ukrainian forces have made significant advancements in their recent efforts to push against heavily fortified Russian positions in the southern region. White House security spokesman John Kirby stated that these gains were achieved within the last 72 hours, specifically to the south of Zaporizhzhia.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, confirmed to CNN that their forces were indeed making progress, although he acknowledged that the situation remained challenging. On the other hand, Russia has claimed to have taken control of strategic high-ground positions near Kupiansk in northeastern Ukraine. However, it’s essential to note that none of these claims have been independently verified.
Mr. Kirby pointed out that Kyiv itself had acknowledged that its efforts to split the Russian land corridor to Crimea in the south were progressing more slowly than anticipated. Nevertheless, they have achieved some success against the second line of Russian defenses.
Earlier in the week, Ukraine’s military announced the capture of the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region. In the northeastern region, Russia has concentrated its forces with the aim of recapturing territory that Ukraine had previously liberated east of Kharkiv.
In the southern region, Russia is believed to have established an intricate system of trenches and tunnels, fortified with minefields, artillery positions, and anti-tank concrete barriers referred to as “dragon’s teeth.”
Kyiv initiated its counter-offensive after securing more advanced weaponry from Western allies and preparing assault battalions. However, progress has been sluggish, and Kyiv continues to appeal to NATO countries for assistance in delivering tanks, de-mining equipment, and warplanes, particularly US-made F-16 fighter jets.
On Thursday, Mr. Kuleba voiced irritation with those who criticized the pace of Ukraine’s counter-offensive.
“I would recommend all critics to shut up, come to Ukraine and try to liberate one square centimeter by themselves,” he said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Spain.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russian forces had seized the Crimea peninsula and much of Ukraine’s Donbas region in 2014.
In recent weeks, Ukraine has launched its own attacks on mainland Russia. Russian officials said three Ukrainian drones targeting the bridge linking Crimea to the Russian mainland had been destroyed in the early hours of Saturday morning.
President Putin told pupils on Friday, at the start of the school year, that Russia’s triumph in World War Two proved that their nation was invincible.
“I understood why we won the Great Patriotic War,” he said in a lecture designed to strengthen patriotism in schools. “It is impossible to defeat this kind of nation with this kind of attitude. We were absolutely invincible. And we are the same now.”
The Kremlin’s so-called “important conversations” were introduced in schools after the Russian full-scale invasion began.
Russia’s military also announced on Friday that it had put a new strategic nuclear missile system, called Sarmat, “on combat duty”.
The long-range missiles have multiple warheads. Their deployment has not been independently confirmed.